Why You Should Disregard Your Turkey’s Pop-Up Thermometer

If you don’t, your turkey will be dry.

Published Nov. 9, 2022.

Many supermarket turkeys come with a little red indicator centered in the breast meat. It’s supposed to pop up when the turkey’s done, giving you the peace of mind to know when to pull the turkey from the oven and let it rest.

Seems simple enough, right?

Actually, no. If you want a juicy turkey worth eating, disregard that pop-up thermometer entirely.

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The little pop-up thermometer in the turkey breast is designed to pop when the internal temperature of the breast meat reaches 178 degrees F. By then, your turkey is bone dry. Even the Best Turkey Gravy won’t save it.

Our advice? Don’t trust a turkey’s pop-up thermometer. The turkey is often the centerpiece of the mealwhy not buy the best you can get your hands on? 

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If you do purchase a turkey with one, disregard it and use a thermometer instead. 

You should have at least one thermometer in your kitchen. Whether an instant read, a probe thermometer (that can be used for meat or candy-making), or a remote probe thermometer (so you don’t have to babysit the turkey), the tool will be a life-saver for your turkey and far beyond Thanksgiving. 

Simply insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the breast, taking care not to hit the bone. Look for an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Repeat with the thickest part of the thigh meat. Look for an internal temperature between 170-175 degrees F. 

Here’s how to temp and rest your turkey.

Photo credit: pvcrossi/via Getty Images Plus

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